A couple of articles have caught my eye this week – the value of the basic press-up and a possible answer for our £1 billion back problem. Press-ups it seems are back in fashion following the publication of a recent scientific study revealing them as the best exercise you can do for your health (they clearly haven’t heard of Nordic walking…).
The back pain story is about the way Nick Potter, osteopath to city slickers & the rich and famous, treats bad backs. It’s a surprisingly holistic approach. “Most of our pain has less to do with twisted muscles and more to do with far deeper-rooted anxieties” he says. “People put their problems into their tissues, because it’s easier to deal with a physical pain that you can put ice on or apply heat to, than deal with an emotional pain.” So a healthy back requires a healthy attitude to our stress and the environment that we live and work in.
Most of us won’t be entirely surprised by this. What fascinated me is that Potter regards correct breathing as the key to a pain-free back.
Apparently as much as 60% of us do not breathe properly. We either breathe too quickly and shallowly or we breathe with our upper chests and not our diaphragm. Many of us also hold our breath for extended periods without knowing it. These disrupted breathing patterns cause our neck and shoulder muscles to be in a perpetual state of tension, pulling on the spine, collarbone and base of the skull causing aches and pains. “Nature created us to breathe with our diaphragm” says Potter, “If we don’t, no energy rushes in.”
It will also be no surprise that Potter regards our current sitting habit as a big problem. He says that we place three times as much pressure through our intervertebral discs in our spine when sitting compared with when we stand, particularly in the lower back. This sets us up for all sorts of problems including slipped discs and reduced life expectancy. Getting up and moving for five minutes every hour is far more beneficial than an hours exercise once a day.
If you or someone you know has back pain then you might want to check out Potter’s Bakpro website which has quite a bit of useful information, plus a back care kit that you can buy.
Next year’s Exel Nordic walking poles
Ros, Marcus and Mel all attended the annual British Nordic Walking instructor convention last weekend. Much was discussed and the 2018 range of Exel Nordic walking poles was revealed. There weren’t any innovative new designs but from next March the colourway of all the Exel poles is changing. As you will see from the above photos, orange is out and black is in. The pole on the far left will be the new colour of the 100% carbon straight and curved poles (both of which are currently orange). The second left will be a new straight 75% carbon pole. We will let you know once the new stock has arrived.